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when I invoke some function that requires to select an option from the minibuffer, there is often a first option tagged with [^M]

what does it mean? How to select it?

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    ^M is a a control character (carriage return) obtained with C-m. But I don't know of any instance where that is required to select an option from the minibuffer. Can you edit your question and provide an example where that arises?
    – NickD
    Mar 14, 2020 at 14:38
  • for example when I edit latex document with Auctex package, and I want to insert a reference using C- [, I am sent into minibuffer with first option being ^M. Maybe, from what you say, I need to press RET into minibuffer. I need to test this. Mar 14, 2020 at 18:07
  • The first option I get is Regex { && Regex...}: [cite]: . I type a pattern, it highlights the matches in the bibtex file and allows me to use n and p to move from entry to entry and select an entry by pressing RET. There is no explicit ^M anywhere that I can see.
    – NickD
    Mar 15, 2020 at 0:09

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